This Instant Pot Spanish Rice recipe is the perfect side dish to serve with your favorite Mexican-inspired meals like tacos or enchiladas. Packed with flavorful ingredients like tomatoes, onion, garlic and tons of fragrant spices. Best of all this is a one pan side dish that’s ready in under 25 minutes!
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Homemade Spanish Rice (in the Instant Pot!)
One of my favorite things to order at a Mexican restaurant is a side of Spanish rice aka Mexican Rice. It’s savory, a little spicy, and pairs with pretty much anything I order. And since I’ve developed my own recipes for Chicken Enchiladas, Refried Beans and Barbacoa-Style Beef, I wanted to take a crack at making my own Spanish rice. I never knew that making Spanish Rice at home was this easy and I dare say this recipe will give that of your favorite Mexican restaurant a run for its money!
Not only is this rice super easy to make and so quick in the Instant Pot, but it is also extremely versatile. This is my personal favorite take on Spanish Rice but you can see some variations listed below that might help you make it the best Spanish Rice for you!
Spanish Rice Ingredients
Homemade Spanish Rice is one of those recipes that can seem intimidating, but is actually super easy to make. And to make it even simpler, you only need a handful of ingredients that you likely have on-hand!
- Unsalted butter: Is used to saute the onion and garlic together. If you are dairy free simply substitute and type of neutral cooking oil.
- Long-grain white rice: I like to use long grain white rice for this recipe as it gets nice and fluffy. If you prefer, you can try this recipe with recipe with brown rice but use about 1/3 cup more liquid to cook it in.
- Onion: 1 large white or yellow onion, diced. To make this recipe even easier substitute onion powder or dried onion flakes.
- Garlic: For me you can’t have Mexican rice without some garlic!
- Chicken broth: I cook my rice in low-sodium chicken broth for added flavor. If you use regular chicken broth, go easy on the salt when you season it. Alternatively, you can use water and add a little extra salt when you season the rice.
- Fire-roasted canned tomatoes: Use the whole can with the juice as well. I like the flavor the fire-roasted canned tomatoes lend but you can use regular canned tomatoes if that is what you have on hand.
- Seasonings: Cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, a bay leaf, salt, and fresh-cracked black pepper.
How To Make Instant Pot Spanish Rice
- Prep the Rice: Rinse the rice thoroughly until the water runs clear. This removes the excess starch and prevents the rice from turning mushy or gummy.
- Toast the Rice: Turn on your Instant Pot to the SAUTE option, and add the butter. Once melted, add the rice and diced onion. Cook for 3-4 minutes until toasted and the onion softens. Turn off the Instant Pot, and add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Cook the Rice: Add in chicken broth, diced tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, oregano and bay leaf to the Instant Pot. Cover and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on HIGH for 4 minutes. Allow the steam to naturally release, then uncover and fluff the rice gently.
- Serve: Discard the bay leaf, and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro and a lime wedge, serve, and enjoy!
Tips and Variations
- Add a pinch or two of cinnamon and/or nutmeg for warmth. These spices are often used in tomato-based dishes in Mexican-inspired cuisine.
- Blend the tomatoes, onion and garlic if you don’t like chunks of tomato and onion. While I like the chunks for texture and flavor, you can also make this rice smoother by blending the tomatoes and onions before putting them into the instant pot.
- Spice it up with some cayenne pepper or some diced jalapeño peppers. Or, instead of using a can of tomatoes you can use a jar of your favorite salsa!
- Toss in some frozen peas, carrots, and corn, like Spanish rice is often prepared with at Mexican restaurants. If you have fresh corn, cut it off the cob and add it in for a nice crunchy, sweet bite.
- Mix in some protein like chicken, beef, or shrimp for added protein.
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
- Store leftover homemade Spanish rice in an airtight container in your fridge for up to 5 days.
- While you can freeze this Spanish rice, we don’t recommend it, as the rice’s texture can break down in the thawing process. If you do freeze it, reheat with a little bit of chicken broth to keep it from getting too dry.
- Reheat chilled rice in the microwave with a splash or water or chicken broth for 3-4 minutes, or until warmed through.
How much rice per person? For a side dish, about 1/4 cup uncooked rice per person will do great. That ends up being about 3/4 to 1 cup of cooked rice per person. Adjust accordingly based on how hungry you are!
Can I use any kind of rice for Spanish Rice? I recommend using long grain white rice, so basmati and jasmine rice will work great. You can also use brown rice for a higher fiber meal just make sure you add about 1/3 cup extra liquid to cook the brown rice thoroughly.
Why should I rinse my rice? I always rinse my rice before cooking it for a few different reasons. It will get rid of some extra starch which can make your rice a gummy texture. Also, it removes any debris that the rice might have.
What if I don’t have an instant pot? You can cook this rice without an instant pot in a regular pot on the stove. It will take much longer to cook, so follow the instructions on your rice to make sure you cook it long enough!
More Recipes To Try
- Spicy Pepper Jack Mac and Cheese
- Mexican Stuffed Shells
- One Pan Mexican Pasta
- Spanish Rice
- One Pan Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake
Instant Pot Spanish Rice
- Rinse rice until the water runs clear.
- Add butter to the Instant Pot and select the SAUTE option. Add in rice and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes or until they start to get some color on them. Turn off the Instant Pot and add in garlic and cook for an additional minute.
- Add in chicken broth, diced tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, oregano and bay leaf to the Instant Pot. Cover and set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on HIGH for 4 minutes.
- Allow the steam to naturally release then uncover and fluff rice. Discard bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper to taste then serve!